Why Mrs. Swiss Hates the Steelers

Re-published per request of WV....

From "We're From the Town with the Great Football Team: A Pittsburgh Steelers Manifesto," available on, or Manuscript available, for free, by PMing me your email address.

Please excuse the few f-bombs herein.


She finally said it during the glorious off-season following SBXL. I knew it was coming. “I sure hope the Steelers don’t win the Super Bowl next year. You’re ridiculous.” It was similar to her reaction to the news that I’d been hired/appointed/drafted to write articles at “Great, something else for you to be an idiot about.”

I’m sure it had its roots in our respective upbringings.

I was born in a steel mill town, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
She was born in a shoe mill town, Lawrence, Massachusetts

I was a barber’s kid
She was a PK (that’s Preacher’s Kid)

My dad took me to Pittsburgh cultural events, Pirate baseball at Forbes Field, Diamond Belt Boxing at the Civic Arena, dropped me off at Pitt Stadium for Steelers games when I was 10. Her dad took her to Massachusetts cultural events, museums, symphonies.

Digression #1: I went to the symphony once in Pittsburgh: Allman Brothers Symphony at the Civic Arena in ‘74

While her dad was praying, “Dear Lord….we give you thanks….,” my dad was screaming, “Smear his fuckin’ ass!” as L.C. Greenwood chased Ken Anderson.

Digression #2: My dad was actually careful about the F-bomb. The first time, I heard him drop one was when I was 18, talking about one of his Knights of Columbus colleagues, ”Ross, that brownnose fucker,” he blurted out one night when he and my mom were sitting on the front porch. “Tony, what did you say,” said Mom. “I…I….I, said Ross was a brownnoser, Mary….that’s what I said.” “No you didn’t, “scolded Mom. Meanwhile, I was engaged in a serious case of LMFAO…..good luck with this one, Dad!!

We got married with her thinking that this Steelers thing would get better. Truth is, I’ve gotten worse…..much worse.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers because I sat and watched a Steelers-Cowboys pre-season game in the midst of our honeymoon in 1980.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers because I made her sit with Stupid Charlie, during an ’81 overtime victory, won on a Bradshaw-Swann TD pass. Surely, I thought, this will make her a fan. “Don’t ever do this to me again! “she exclaimed, thoroughly embarrassed by the behavior of Stupid Charlie.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers because I made her drive back from Pittsburgh in a 1987 November snowstorm, while I watched the Steelers lose to the Saints in my newly purchased 5” B&W car TV.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I collaborated with my Uncle Oney to bring a TV to my grandma’s wake for the ’89 opener. (God was pissed….Steelers lost, at TRS, 51-0).

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I jumped backwards over the couch, shrieking with delight, waking the baby as Gary Anderson split the uprights to beat the Oilers in OT in the ‘89 Wild Card game.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I gave my in-laws the Bum’s Rush out of the hospital room when my son was 12 hours old, freshly circumcised knowing that was my only hope to watch the ’92 Steelers-Bills Divisional Playoff. Hey!! I did make sure not to hurry the doc with the circumcision.

Digression #3: First, and only time in my life that I believed in karma. Opened a girls’ home in the face of stiff neighborhood resistance on Thursday, Anthony was born on Friday, Steelers football on Saturday. There was no way we could lose….we lost!!

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I brought our family to the Rutland, VT. Holiday Inn in ’93 to watch Steelers-Browns. They picked up a Plattsburgh, NY station. All NE stations had the then shitty Patriots on. Steelers lost on a pair of Eric Metcalf punt returns. Nine-month old Anthony was screaming in the middle of the night. I was assigned to sit in the lobby with him. It was my penance.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause when Neighbor Susan called over during the Steelers-Patriot game in ’93, telling Mrs. Swiss that there was a fire in the woods out back, and “could Dave check it out, ‘cause Chuck’s not home,” I said that I would do so at halftime. Mrs. Swiss objected and threatened to call the Fire Department. “Go ahead,” I said, “that’s why they’re there.”

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I consistently refer to Steelers-Browns ’94 Divisional Playoffs as the closest thing I’ve ever had to a religious experience.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause a week later, I screamed uncontrollably, “Fuuuuuck, Fuuuuuuck, Fuuuuuuck!!!” , in the presence of my 2-year old, when O’Donnell’s pass to Barry Foster was batted away, denying the Steelers a SB appearance. I doubt he remembers, but his eyes did get awful big.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers “cause I did a somersault when Steelers beat the Lions at the final gun of the ’95 opener, thereby kicking 2-year-old Anthony in the nose, dropping him straight to the floor. That .ended the celebration prematurely. The next week though, after a Steelers TD, Anthony cried out, “Daddy…daddy….kick me in the nose again.”

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I stuffed my ears with cotton while accompanying her to a Saturday matinee performance of The Nutcracker during the ’95 Steelers-Pats game. I should have known that no ballet-goer would be talking football, but one can never be too careful with these things.

Maybe Mrs. Swiss hates the Steelers ‘cause I went to Pittsburgh on consecutive weekend during the ’97 playoffs, leaving her home with the kids to battle the Flying Squirrels.

Mrs. Swiss regularly conveys a dual accusation: a. "You care about the Steelers more than you do your family." To which I issue my standard denial, though not grounded in my actions. b. "You care more about this team than do the players." To which I readily acknowledge, always answering, "I've rooted for this team longer than any of the players (and now it's head coach) have been alive."

And I always conclude by telling Mrs. Swiss, “You’ll never understand; you’re not from Pittsburgh.”

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